Wishing you all many lovely surprises of the season.
As I consider the many many items on my To Do list this a.m., I notice my habit of comparing. What others have accomplished (cookie baking! presents all bought and wrapped!) and what I have accomplished in years past -- thinking about this stresses me out. So why compare what is to what was, or what other realities may exist?
Because let's face it, this is kind of a weird Christmas. The girls are mostly grown up, so no special Santa-related surprises. No staying up super late to be elves and put something together on Santa's behalf. It's raining and 60 degrees. We are not going to A Christmas Carol at the McCarter for the first time in a decade. David has multiple health issues. Caitlin won't arrive until this afternoon. The stockings aren't hung, I haven't wrapped a single gift, there are cookies to bake and cleaning to be done, and we don't even know where we'll be dining this evening...
I'm just not ready for the birth of Jesus.
I wonder if this is how Mary felt. (I'm comparing again, I know.) How inconvenient to have to travel so close to your due date. How unprepared was Mary for labor and delivery in some cave stable, with no blankets or midwives or hot water?
Jesus didn't care. "Ready or not, here I come!" he warned, and out he came. Babies do that, they like to surprise us. Birth is never quite what one expects, which is ironic since we spend 9 months being called "expectant."
So Advent is over and the season of preparation has come to an end. But my home life has not caught up to that fact, so this morning here I sit, sipping coffee and assessing the chaos and wondering how important it truly is to accomplish the items on my To Do list.
Not important really, since no matter what, that child -- the holy, enlightened, pure and radiant being -- will get born. Maybe if I remember that today and stay awake to my life, I will notice and embrace that fact. Maybe I can even embody it.
And for that there's no comparison.